Why Didn’t My Summer Squash Plant Produce Squash?

zucchiniMy summer squash never really developed – the squash turned yellow and fell off. What went wrong?

Answer: Summer squash and zucchini come in a variety of shapes, colors and tantalizing flavor, perfect for salads, dips or cooked recipes. They’re known for a prolific harvest, bearing an abundance of young, tender veggies all season long. So what could cause the squash to not fully develop?

Failing summer squash plants could be caused by a number of issues: improper watering, poor soil or intruding pests such as squash bugs, cucumber beetles and/or vine borers. However, sometimes you could have perfectly healthy plants with no signs of trouble. When plants are thriving but fruit isn’t being produced, it could be due to female flowers not being pollinated. Summer squash need insects, like bees, to pass the pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers. If there are not enough pollinators, or they don’t find your plant, it will not produce sufficient fruit.

If your yard is lacking a bunch of buzzing bees to help aid your plants into production, than you can help pollinate your summer squash. Use a Q-tip or small paintbrush to take the pollen from the male flower and transfer it to the female flower. Distinguishing from the two flowers is relatively easy. Male flowers have longer straight stems, while females will have a bulge just below the flower petals.

Once you have identified the two flowers and have successfully transported the pollen, your female flowers should begin to produce healthy, delicious veggies for you to harvest!

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Want great gardening tips for growing edibles? Download the Horticulture Smart Gardening Guides: Guide to Growing Edibles.

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Download the Smart Gardening Techniques: Summer Tasks for a wealth of helpful summer gardening tasks.

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